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The person controlling the weather must have read my last blog post about the first signs of fall, because this week has ushered in a chilly breeze and the absolute need for a comfy sweater. I like the change, but I’m sure I won’t be saying that in January. For now though, I’m looking at all the bright sides of fall and all of the music that goes with it. One song that comes to my mind during this season is Who Has Seen the Wind?

It can be used to teach so many musical elements; rhythm, dynamics, pitch, and more. My favorite reason for using it in the fall is its minor melody, which evokes a sense of darker, colder days to come. I also think it would be great to use during the week of Halloween. It has just the right amount of spookiness without the need to specifically mention pumpkins and skeletons.

The lesson below (which you can download for free) is meant to be used as a guide for writing your own lesson using Who Has Seen the Wind? There is plenty of space reserved in the bottom half to sketch a rough draft of activities you’d like to try with your own classes.

Idea #1–Give each student a scarf, ribbon, or any other flowing material you have available. As you introduce the song for the first time, ask students to pretend their scarf is a falling leaf that moves with the rhythm of the music. Model the movements with a dramatic swing of the scarf over your head for each half note.

Idea #2–Display the first line of music only on the board using manipulatives like the ones pictured below. Indicate the new rhythm (half note) by using different colored beats or by simply flipping them upside down.

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Work together as a class to write out the barred eighth notes using the manipulates.

Use this time as an opportunity to have students work in pairs or small groups to discuss the new rhythm. Guide them in their discussion by prompting them with vocabulary such as long/short and asking them to discuss how the new rhythm is the same or different than eighth notes. When they’re finished, define the note in the terminology you use (half note, ta-a, toh, etc.) You can write the half note by using a piece of yarn to show the length of the note. If you use yarn as recorder karate belts, this is a great way for it to serve dual purposes!

Idea #3–Once students have internalized the song, ask them to create their own dynamic markings to reflect the meaning of the song. Give them pieces of yarn or pipe cleaners to create their dynamic marking drafts. Pipe cleaners are fairly cheap and can be used again and again since they’ll be creating the same shapes each time. Or you can have them write their ideas on an interactive whiteboard for the rest of the class to sing.

I have several more ideas for this song, but I think these are a great starting point. By the way, if you ever have any questions about my blog post, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me (click on the envelope icon at the top of my blog). I love sharing ideas with you, and I love seeing your questions in my inbox!
If you’ve read this far, you’re in for a treat. I’m doing a small giveaway of the items shown in the picture below to one lucky reader, but you’ll need to act fast. This giveaway will only be open for a short time. I’ll be announcing the winner next week! 

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